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What are the benefits and harms of potatoes for human health?

Potatoes are a universal product from which you can prepare the first and second courses, salads, and baked goods for tea. Almost no holiday table is complete without this vegetable. It is fried, boiled, baked, deep-fried, made into chips, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, and used as a filling for pies, pancakes, and dumplings. The list of dishes that are prepared from potatoes can be endless. But is there any benefit to this product and is it possible to eat potatoes in large quantities? Public news service I found out the benefits and harms of potatoes for human health.

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Benefit

Potatoes, especially those grown on your own plot, are rich in vitamins and other useful substances. Thanks to its rich composition, it has the following beneficial properties:

  • Supports heart health.

Potatoes contain fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol in the blood and thereby prevent cardiovascular diseases. This effect is enhanced by the presence of potassium in potatoes. The pulp also contains vitamin B6, which prevents the accumulation of homocysteine, which is harmful to blood vessels.

  • Maintains the condition of bone tissue.

Valuable substances such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium have a positive effect on the composition of bone tissue. Iron and zinc help produce collagen, which is beneficial for joints and cartilage. Phosphorus and calcium take an active part in bone mineralization.

  • Promotes nervous system health.

B vitamins are involved in the production of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones lift a person’s mood and improve their well-being.

  • Ensures proper brain function.

The glucose it contains supports brain function, and potassium ensures healthy blood vessels and improves blood flow to brain cells, which promotes healthy brain function.

Potatoes baked in skins
Photo: freepik.com/freepik
  • Supports memory.

The high choline content promotes healthy, full sleep, strengthens memory and muscles, and makes a person easy to learn. This substance affects the structure of cell membranes, participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and prevents the development of chronic diseases.

  • Useful for expectant mothers.

Potatoes contain folic acid, which is a direct participant in the formation of DNA in the unborn fetus. This substance also has a positive effect on the development of the nervous system of the unborn baby.

  • Supports the functioning of the digestive system.

Due to the large amount of fiber, potatoes give a feeling of fullness for a long time, so a person does not overeat. True, we are only talking about a potato dish prepared without oil, lard, bacon and other high-calorie ingredients. Also, starch, which enters the distal parts of the intestine almost unchanged, has a beneficial effect on the muscles of the intestinal wall. It reduces the risk of constipation and gas formation.

Harm

However, potatoes can also cause some health problems if they are overused:

  • occasionally potatoes cause allergies;
  • root vegetables contain pure and simple carbohydrates, which may be a contraindication for people with diabetes or obesity;
  • potatoes can aggravate the condition of gastritis with low acidity and atrophic gastritis;
  • if you eat potatoes while taking beta blockers, hyperkalemia may develop, which will provoke a convulsive syndrome;
  • An increased content of solanine can lead to poisoning. Solanine accumulates in green tubers or during sprouting shoots. However, this phenomenon occurs quite rarely.
Boiled potatoes sprinkled with herbs
Photo: freepik.com/vladimirclar

Experts also named the most harmful dishes made from this vegetable:

  • fried potatoes;
  • potatoes fried with lard;
  • french fries.

In these dishes, the moisture in potatoes is replaced with fat, due to which the product becomes very high in calories and is difficult for the body to absorb.

Daily norm

Experts recommend that an adult consume potatoes in the amount of 150-200 g per day, while preparing a potato side dish a maximum of 2-3 times a week.

How to choose

If you use store-bought potatoes when preparing food, the following recommendations for choosing a high-quality, healthy root vegetable will be useful to you:

  • the most nutritious specimens are small and medium-sized, so do not chase huge tubers, but give preference to smaller root vegetables;
  • the thicker the peel, the more mature the potato, and the longer it will be stored;
  • You should not buy green or sprouted root vegetables because of alkaloids that can lead to poisoning.

How to store

Storage conditions also affect the quality of potatoes and the content of their nutrients:

  • It is better to store this vegetable in a bag or wooden box. Potatoes are not stored in polyethylene;
  • so that the potatoes last as long as possible, they are put in a cellar, basement or on a glassed-in loggia;
  • on average, potatoes are well stored at a temperature of +2..+3 degrees, but for some varieties this figure is +5…+7 degrees.

Conclusion

Thus, for people who do not suffer from any diseases, potatoes are more useful than harmful. But it all depends on the method of preparation, the quantity eaten and the quality of the potatoes themselves. If potatoes are prepared using fatty foods, such as lard or oil, then the harm will exceed its benefits, even for a healthy person. If it is just a small portion of boiled potatoes that have been stored under proper conditions, then the dish will only bring benefits.

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